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ECD CHAPTER SPOTLIGHT: AKRON

This month’s Chapter Spotlight shines on PRSA Akron and comes just as the chapter is preparing for its biggest event of the year, the March 13 YouToo Social Media Conference. We owe our thanks to Chapter President Jennifer Kramer for providing us all the insights into her home chapter.


If you attended the ECD 2019 QuickStart Conference, you got to see Jennifer take the stage to talk about YooToo in a presentation called, “Constructing and Maintaining an Award-Winning Partnership with Future Members.” Partnering on the presentation were Kent State PRSSA members Sophia Iannelli and Venessa Gresley.
The talk was about youth, and what that enthusiasm brings to YooToo. But it was also obvious how much pride and joy Jennifer and her chapter leaders take in the conference they founded and have watched grow. It truly is “their baby.”
If you caught Jennifer at the ECD happy hour before QuickStart, you also know that the Akron chapter has faced many of the same challenges we see in chapters across our district. Jennifer and others have shown tremendous loyalty, serving repeat terms in leadership to keep the chapter vibrant. You’ll see how she arrived at her “Secret to a Happy Chapter.”

Give us a brief history of your chapter:
The Akron Area Chapter of the Public Relations Society in 2019 celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The chapter officially began in 1969 when founding president, W. Thomas (Tom) Duke, APR, Fellow PRSA, and 30 other PR professionals from Akron, Canton, Youngstown, Kent and Wooster joined to form the fledgling group.
Over the years, the Akron Chapter has experienced many periods of growth. The chapter has 94 active members—more than twice the number of its 1969 founding year. The chapter was supported during its founding by Akron-based tire companies, a luxury it no longer has with the absorption of BFGoodrich by Michelin and Firestone by Bridgestone. The strength of today’s chapter comes from the health care industry, agencies, higher education and a host of other companies, non-profit and government organizations.
The Akron Area Chapter works with students majoring in public relations or communication at The University of Akron, Kent State University, Malone University, Walsh University, the University of Mount Union and Youngstown State University. It is the parent chapter of three student organizations—the Public Relations Student Society of America at The University of Akron, Kent State University and the University of Mount Union.

Who are your 2020 officers?
Past President: Jennifer Kramer, APR
President: Jennifer Kramer, APR
President-Elect: Joni Poorbaugh
Secretary: Christine Meeker Lange, APR
Treasurer: Ron Kirksey

Describe your membership:
Of the 94 Akron Area members, 41 have 12+ years’ experience, while 53 have 10 or less years’ experience in communication. Members represent professional communicators from corporations and business (27%), nonprofits (27%), academe (19%), agencies (13%), government (8%), independent practice (5%) and professional services (1%).

What is your biggest project of the year?
YouToo Social Media Conference on March 13.
It touches programming, communication, sponsorship, membership, student chapters, the executive board and is the responsibility of all board members, regardless of role, to make it a success!
http://www.youtoosm.com/

What is your chapter’s proudest achievement? Why?
I think making it 50 years as a chapter is pretty impressive!

Did you set a specific goal you hope to achieve in 2020?  How is it progressing?

GOAL: Make the Akron Area Chapter a chapter for all members, not just primarily downtown Akron members, and seek diversity in all its phases through membership, recruitment and service.
Objective 1: Improve engagement among members living outside the Akron metro area by the end of 2020.
We established a Canton Area Committee with co-chairs serving as board members. They plan and host meetings and communicate with professionals in their service areas on behalf of the Akron Area Chapter. They have held two successful programs this year, re-attracting a group of professionals to the chapter who had previously disengaged.

Any “little known/fun facts” about your chapter to share?
Akron Area PRSA launched its website in 1998 under the leadership of then Immediate Past President Richard Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA, and in 2009, then chapter Webmaster Michael Schwabe and then Vice President Gretchen Fri, APR, launched the chapter’s first chapter networking site on MySpace.

What’s your secret to a “happy chapter?”
“The secret to a happy chapter is to thank your volunteers genuinely and often.” – Jennifer Kramer, APR

Contact email in case other ECD chapters have a question for you: akronprsa@gmail.com

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Announcement: February 2020 Best Practice Call: Revitalize Your Chapter

Join us for our February Best Practice Call, the first of 2020’s monthly lineup of insightful speakers! It’s set for Feb. 26 at 8:30 a.m. If you’re on our email list, stay tuned for future communications about call-in information. If you’re not on our list, please send us a direct message, and we will send you the call-in information.

Becky Vogel, president of the PRSA – Northwest Ohio Chapter, will discuss how to utilize your Chapter’s membership and past board members to revitalize your Chapter. In 2019, the Northwest Ohio Chapter faced several setbacks, including low membership and event attendance, as well as an incomplete board slate for 2020. Since Fall 2019, the Chapter has turned around, with a current full board and 26 attendees at the first event of 2020. That is more than double attendance over the past few years.

Join us as Becky shares the Chapter’s best practices and more during the presentation! Learn more about the Northwest Ohio Chapter.

R.S.V.P. for the February Best Practice Call here.

Becky Vogel, PRSA Northwest Ohio Chapter President

About Becky: Becky Vogel brings 15 years experience in marketing and public relations for architects and engineers. As Marketing Director for the jdi group in Maumee, Ohio, her responsibilities include internal and external communications. She crafts materials to reach clients in markets such as automotive, manufacturing, food, commercial, education and healthcare.

She graduated from Ashland University in 2005 with a Bachelors degree in Public Communication. In 2008, she earned a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Lourdes University. Becky brings a special passion for organizational development, team building and strategic planning.

Prior to joining the jdi group in 2018, Becky spent 12 years with The Collaborative, an architectural firm in Toledo. She has served on the Northwest Ohio Chapter PRSA Board since 2014, serving five years as Treasurer.

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District Announces Recipients of 2019 Diamond Awards

See the full list of winners here.

The PRSA East Central District is honored to recognize public relations excellence in campaigns and tactics for its 42nd annual Diamond Awards competition

Within the East Central District, there are national-caliber campaigns and tactics that deserve recognition. The Diamond Awards are presented to public relations practitioners who have successfully addressed a communication challenge with exemplary skill, creativity and resourcefulness. The Diamond Awards are open to any public relations professional who is a member of the 17 chapters of PRSA East Central District and any nonmember whose place of business is within the district’s boundaries. The East Central District covers the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The Best of Show honoree is Owston & Owston for “WV Remembers: Beckley Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.” The campaign was an integrated initiative creating branding, social media, media relations and more for Beckley’s Holocaust Annual Remembrance Day. This campaign also won the 2019 Best in West Virginia Campaign at the WV PRSA Chapter Crystal Awards.

The 2020 Diamond Awards program will open this spring so start preparing your submission.

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Detroit Trifecta! Jennifer Day is Perfect Choice for 2019 ECD Platinum Award

Congratulations to Jennifer Day!

By Jennifer Flowers-Kolf, APR, East Central District Chair

One of the highlights for the East Central District each year is to present the PRSA ECD Platinum/Don Durocher award to a deserving professional within the 17 chapters in six states that our district represents. This year as ECD District Chair, I had the honor of presenting a fellow Detroit PRSA member and former ECD District Chair Jennifer Day, APR, Great Lakes regional coordinator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with this year’s East Central District Platinum/Don Durocher award for her tireless service given within various aspects of PRSA.

It was a Detroit trifecta this year with Jennifer and I both being from the PRSA Detroit chapter – but also the award being named after former national PRSA board member, ECD chair and Detroit chapter president Donald P. Durocher, APR, Fellow PRSA. In Durocher’s memory, the district board accepts nominations from around the district and then votes on a selected recipient who has achieved a distinguished service record to PRSA at the local, district and national levels.

Many know Jennifer as a past PRSA Detroit chapter president, past East Central District chair or even the chair of the national district council – but her contributions to our organization and profession don’t stop there. Jennifer has been part of and led a number of committees on the local and national level; chaired the effort to bring the international conference to Detroit in 2008; and developed and successfully brought to life a five-year strategic plan to help develop and strengthen the districts within PRSA.

She is a tireless advocate for ethical and strategic government communications and its important role in society. As a board member of the Public Affairs and Government Section, Jennifer chaired this section’s national professional development summit for the past two years – with the summit occurring in Detroit last year – and was recognized last year as the section’s Lloyd. B. Dennis Distinguished Service Award recipient.

This is just small snapshot of how Jennifer has tirelessly contributed to advancing our profession over the years. Her service to PRSA has been non-stop since joining in 1997 and she has served the Society at the chapter, district, section and national level in some active capacity without a break.

A special thank you to our 2019 Platinum Awards Chair Andrea Clark, APR, ECD immediate past chair, for coordinating this year’s awards nomination and selection process. And, congratulations to Jennifer for this highly deserved award and for representing our district so well within PRSA!

The nomination process for the PRSA ECD Platinum/Durocher Award typically begins in the spring of each year. District and chapter leaders, watch your emails in the months ahead for nomination information for the 2020 award.

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Future Facing at QuickStart 2019

The theme of the Sept. 13-14 ECD QuickStart conference in Columbus was “Future Facing.”
Not just rising trends, new practices, or emerging indicators. It took a hard look at the capital “F” future of our industry and organization by facing the critical themes of Youth and Diversity.

Friday: A Head Start to QuickStart.

After Friday’s board meeting several board members joined the ECD Diversity & Inclusion Focus Group facilitated by Shanita Akintonde, 2019 National Chair PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Shanita asked us to draw a tree, then describe it in a couple of words. Next, we partnered with another focus group member “with eye color darker than ours” to share our definitions of diversity. It immediately challenged core assumptions and launched a deep dive into “diversity of thought.”

Small groups huddled and brainstormed to answer the question, “How can PRSA Make the PR Profession More Diverse and Inclusive.

Here’s one result: Meet people where they are. Operate with intention. Look at the self (for implicit bias), then do the same with circles of friends (personal, professional, PRSA). Review and analyze current tactics for recruiting membership and programming. Have authentic discussions – listening and learning – within our circle of influence.

The time passed quickly and gave the focus group a head start on what Shanita would address on Saturday in the full conference.

Saturday: A Full Day of Future Facing

ECD Board President Jennifer Flowers-Kolf and chair-elect Adrienne Wallace opened the conference and welcomed 40-plus ECD board members, National guests, presenters and ECD chapter representatives. Fahlgren Mortine was again the gracious host of QuickStart in the comfortable surroundings of FM headquarters at Easton Station.

Jennifer gave the state of ECD and its 17 chapters. She discussed delegate proxy representation at the national assembly, Diamond awards deadline, best practice calls, district reps visiting chapters, and all resources “to get what you need” including the social media platforms. She announced chair-elect Adrienne will plan the next QuickStart in 2020 as the new ECD chair.

We began a full agenda that weighed heavy on the development of PRSA membership. National VP of Membership Jay Starr gave the overview on recruiting and retention. Fahlgren Mortine presented “Creating Critical Culture” as the foundation of success on the agency level. Shanita Akintonde talked about “Being Deliberate” about Diversity and Inclusion and building an inclusive chapter.

The afternoon began with Dream Bigger workshop by Katie Wilson, and the challenge of building effective thought leadership programs for chapters. Jennifer Kramer followed and took us through the history of the YouToo Conference to illustrate the building of partnerships with future members.

The Diversity and Inclusion conversation moved to the PRSSA level and the recruitment of Millennial and Gen Z members with PRSSA presenters Delany MacKenzie and Emily Gagnon.

Andrea Clark, in a “goodbye address” after her long service to ECD, reflected on the strength of associations today in the culture and “How to Stop the Brain Drain” of waning membership.

If you missed QuickStart here’s a chance to review some takeaways from the speakers and link to the full schedule and PPT presentations: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1GTDLg77h6flimsLi2reB9sffzSazjVVu

The State of PRSA National Recruiting & Retention in Membership – Jay Starr

Jobs in PR and related fields number about 270,000 with a median annual pay of $60,000. Six percent growth is expected. PRSA membership is in a “sweet spot” of 77 percent retention rate, but year one retention rate is only 46 percent, compared to national average of about 55 percent.

PRSA membership is relatively steady at about 24,000 members, with many paying extra dues for professional section memberships. PRSSA has about 10,000 members in 350 chapters.

The successful Certificate program includes reputation management, content marketing, measurement/analysis, with crisis management coming. The cost is about $1,200 for six live webinars. They’re available online and involves practitioners from various industries. The cost is $200 per live webinar.

He outlined the member benefits of the speaker register program and the MyPRSA forum.
Group memberships will get a boost with the National Football League joining.
He emphasized the good deal of “Triple Play” membership and the onboarding program welcome.
Learning opportunities included the third party contributed SmartBriefs. He emphasized discounts as added value for members.

Jay looked ahead to the membership census data update and said an updated membership brochure coming. He raised a few eyebrows in the room when he talked about the continued strength of printed marketing materials and the better connection and perceived value of mailed materials arriving on a member’s desk.

QuickStart Creating Critical Culture – Marty & Christopher – Columbus Fahlgren Mortine

“The Columbus Way is the Smart Way” was the lead-off message from host presenters Mary and Christopher from Fahlgren Mortine. Key thoughts for a successful work culture included:
Leaders who listen
• Acceleration partnership programs.
• Little things make a difference.
• Acknowledging hard work is key.
• Gratitude in the work place is essential.
• Writing the goals is only half of it. You have to live it.

They illustrated projects that established values, engaged workers and built outcomes that benefited the company and the community. Operation Feed Week has provided more than 120,000 meals to the Mid-Ohio Food Banks. The July 2018 Inaugural Carpool Week matched FM staff with neighbors and reimbursed Uber/Lyft expenses so they could connect as people and a culture traveling together to and from work. It cut single-occupancy commuting miles in half!

Their motto comes President & CEO Neil Mortine, President & CEO: “I firmly believe that the best culture leads to the best employees, and the best employees lead to the best clients.”

Future Facing – Diversity & Inclusion – Shanita

Shanita announced October is PRSA Diversity Month. She said Focus groups have shown that chapters are mostly white and female (not news!). PRSA is looking at chapters and how to encourage diverse membership. Taking a closer look at the demographic choices and impressions in marketing materials was revealing. Key points:

• Inspire people to come on board, take leadership roles, and bring expertise.
• What areas of interaction impact diversity? (Including support staff to janitorial staff).
• CARE conceptual frame: Commitment to inclusive excellence; Advocating organizational success; Reaching and retaining underrepresented groups; Embodying principled leadership.
• Can’t please everyone; key is to spread it out. Don’t have just one brochure, one focus. Diversity should be embedded in the culture of the group that it doesn’t stand out as obvious or insufficient.
• Photographs allows for strong interaction and human face is most powerful.
• Diverse Voices – PRSA book of leader profiles. Recommended reading!

Dream Bigger – Katie
Katie challenged members to think about how PRSA has impacted your career… How does PRSA provide value to you… What more do you want to get out of your PRSA involvement? Define your “aim” or overall focus/goal/dream for PRSA chapters.

ECD -chapter thought leadership:
What’s the aim?
Empower
Cultivate
Generate ideal fit clients

AIM for chapters:
Full representation
Interactive across ECD
Diverse membership and leadership
Creative combination of professional development, social interaction, supportive associative family of like-mined, passionate practitioners.
Much higher public profile of what PRSA is including community benefit.

National – make communication pros smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their career.

Thought leadership for chapters
Perception (how you want to be perceived vs. actual perception)
1. Connect – prioritize relevance to audience.
2. Credibility- thoughtfully build representation. (Awards, boards, speaking, media).
3. Communicate – strategically sharing your expertise. (Content development, social profiles, engage your network, amplify and repurpose).

Update LinkedIn; publish PRSA activity; engage with peers: share, comment, react to chapter events, member and chapter posts, personal recommendations.

Influencer campaign:
Impact – engage partners to influence your audience.
1. Identify – authentic engaging partners. (Criteria/ideal; communities you want to reach, network, research fit, define KPIs).
2. “Ideate” – prioritize creativity and collaboration.
3. Integrate – elevate the influencer content. (Engagement, Multi-channel, repurpose, measurement, ambassadors, feedback).

Build relationships; add value to other groups – not only about yourself; help connect.
Do more speaking to schools, other groups.
Generate blogs, videos.
Member spotlight – personality, interests.

Future Members – Jennifer
Diversity PRSSA – Delaney

Jennifer and Delaney outlined the distinction between Millennials and Gen Z and noted that Gen Z will make up 40 percent of U.S. consumers by 2020, 47 percent of Gen Z represent ethnic minorities, and 75 percent of Millennials share content online.

Break-out groups discussed how their chapters target these groups, engage them in meetings, and what roadblocks you face in recruitment. With the guidelines of “Be Real; Be Inclusive; Be accessible; Be Worth It” the groups took on a case study of how to recruit Gen Z “Jackson.”

Brain Drain – Andrea

Andrea began with her personal “PRSA Journey” and asked members to share “Why PRSA Has Been a Mainstay for Me?” Among the QuickStart crowd, appreciation of the organization was overwhelmingly positive.

Andrea gave a brief history of trade and professional organizations, noting 67,000 exist today. PRSA began in 1947 and reached a peak membership of 30,000. Today it struggled to maintain membership above 22,000.

To help us improve our QuickStart Conference next year, please take the time to complete an evaluation form:

https://forms.gle/Lpv9NzVxuYgq2toE9

Did you take photos at QuickStart or want some for your chapter social media? Please deposit your photos for us and take what you want to share from here: 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/WVs4E85wtnceuuoD9

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ECD CHAPTER SPOTLIGHT: THE HOOSIER CHAPTER

Our gratitude to Hoosier Chapter Immediate Past-President Megan Bulla for contributing this outstanding summary for the ECD Chapter Spotlight Blog! It’s a large chapter both in membership and geographic area, with a long history that is only 10 years removed from the founding of PRSA! They have much to share, from their proud accomplishments to ambitions for keeping this chapter Hoosier Strong!

 History of Chapter

The Public Relations Society of America Hoosier Chapter represents public relations professionals from throughout Indiana, including employees of associations, agencies, corporations, universities, nonprofits, government and independent practitioners.

We currently have 375 members. We serve the entire state of Indiana. However, the large majority of our active members are from the Central Indiana region, as well as Fort Wayne, which is 2 hours northeast of Indy.

Our Chapter’s mission is to make communications professionals smarter, better prepared, and more connected through all stages of their career.

The Hoosier Chapter was founded in 1957, ten years after the American Public Relations Association merged with the National Association of Public Relations Counselors to form PRSA. Much like our home state, the chapter has grown and changed dramatically in its 60+ years.

2019 Board Members:

President, Emily Kibling, APR, Account Director, Hirons President-Elect, Kendall Horvatich, APR, Community Engagement Director at The Arthritis Foundation Immediate Past-President, Megan Bulla, APR, Owner of Bulla Communications and Indy Brew Bus Director or Operations and Research, Jacki Faulkenstein, Freelance Practitioner Director of Finance, Tim Coxey, APR, Senior Marketing Communications Associate at Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP) Director of Communications, Kristen Hay, Marketing Manager at Bloomerang Director of Member Services, Hyacinth Rucker, Digital Communications Manager at The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art Director of Membership, Deeksha Kapoor, Director of Communications, Indiana Health Care Association Director of Professional Development, Allyson Johnson, APR, Account Manager, BLASTmedia Director of Advocacy and Ethics, Linda Jackson, APR, Owner, Principal at JXN PR Ethics Chair, Melissa Geitgey, APR, Director of Marketing and Communications, Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP) Assembly Delegates: Bob Schultz, APR, PRSA Fellow, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Events, Downtown Indy, Inc. Andrea Farmer, APR, Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications and Account Services Andy Klotz, APR, Director of Marketing and Promotions, WFYI Public Media

Membership Description:

Information taken from membership survey in 2017.

Gender: 70% men, 30% women

Age: 41% Ages 45 – 59, 30% Ages 30 – 44, 20% Ages 18 – 29, 9% Ages 60+ Race: 95% White, 3% African American, 2% Prefer Not to Answer

Education: 61% Bachelor’s Degree, 34% Master’s Degree, 5% Doctorate Degree

Work: 36% Non-Profit, 19% Corporate, 13% PR Agency, 9% Government Agency/Military, 8% Self-Employed, 6% Academic, 6% Other, 1.5% Ad Agency, 1.5% Retired

Top 5 Job Responsibilities:

1) Media Relations

2) Marketing

3) Writing

4) Strategic Planning

5) Social Media

Biggest Project:

The Hoosier Chapter’s most successful event each year is our Pinnacle Awards. The Pinnacle Awards are our Chapter’s annual awards program to recognize the best work in Indiana’s public relations industry. The program is open to members and non-members of all experience levels.

In addition, we offer awards for individuals and students. We typically have more than 125 attendees. On average the we net $5000 – $6000 from the event between entry fees and ticket sales. Each year we recruit a keynote speaker that serves as the award emcee, from the local media landscape.

Biggest Accomplishment:

In October 2016, Indianapolis was host to the PRSA International Conference. Pioneering U.S. astronaut Capt. Scott J. Kelly headlined an impressive list of keynote speakers and public relations industry leaders. Over full three days, more than 1,000 PR professionals and 1,000 students attended professional development sessions with 150 industry experts from all career levels, sectors, work environments and industries, and had the opportunity to connect with hundreds of colleagues from some of the world’s most influential organizations. Our proudest moment? More than 25% of our members volunteered their time and energy toward planning and implementing a successful conference. Did you set a specific goal you hope to achieve in 2019? How is it progressing?

Our top two goals in 2019:

Goal 1: Expand our chapter membership. Membership is the lifeblood of the organization, and as such, our ability to attract, retain and grow our members is in direct correlation with our real and perceived value as well as received benefits.

Strategies:

• Provide communications professionals at all stages of their career with the tools, resources, networking connections and leadership training to cultivate a continual environment of success

• Leverage the PRSSA pipeline by converting rising professionals to local membership

• Focus on innovative recruitment and retention tools to attract and retain members

• Leverage resources from National as a recruitment tool for membership and pair with local opportunities for continued learning and networking

• Foster a climate of purposeful inclusion where all members feel value How we are doing: The chapter hosts quarterly President’s Coffee Chats to welcome new/reinstated members to PRSA to help them become acquainted with our Chapter and become familiar with ways in which they can maximize membership benefits.

These events have proved quite successful in not only recruiting new members and making new members feel welcome but converting them to chapter volunteers. We are currently up 5 members since the end of 2018.

Goal #2: To provide enriching professional growth opportunities Engage and connect members with cutting – edge resources to enable greater career discovery and exploration. Strategies:

• Expand current professional development programming by creating more relevant, timely content

• Provide programming that adapts to the evolving roles OF public relations practitioners

• Establish partnerships with multi-disciplinary organizations to provide cross training opportunities

• Encourage and support members to earn credentials that enhance professional credibility

How we are doing:

Using 2017-member survey data, the chapter developed a list of future topics which we continue to use to shape our chapter programming. After reviewing feedback from our chapter members that stated networking is a top membership value, we decided to put a heavier emphasis on networking opportunities. We are in our third year of our changed model that moved our monthly professional development luncheons to every other month, still delivering the same quality material and providing opportunities for networking, but moving from 12 to six per year.

During the opposite months of our luncheons, we host networking event with varying locations and times; however, the events still continue to occur on the second Wednesday of the month. Member feedback has shown that we have reached a broader member-base by moving to this model since the networking events are typically moved outside of the luncheon hour.

Therefore, chapter members that cannot commit to a two-hour luncheon in the middle of the day, could attend a morning networking session over coffee, or an after-hours networking event. We have also planned these networking events in different areas of town. In the past, almost all events took place downtown. We hosted some in the suburbs to cater to those professionals that work outside of the downtown area.

Relationship building has also increased as the networking sessions typically offer an activity which allows getting to know someone outside of a luncheon setting (ie yoga class, brewery tour, service project, etc.)

Bio/Preferred Contact Info: Megan Bulla, APR. 2018 Hoosier Chapter President. I have been a PRSA member since 2006. I have served on the Hoosier Chapter Board since 2015. Prior to that I was the founding President of the IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis) in 2005.

I am a solo practitioner, in addition to owning a local tourism-based business based in the craft beer industry. megan.bulla@gmail.com

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Chapter Spotlight: Dayton PRSA

Chapter history: The PRSA Dayton Area Chapter was established Nov. 7, 1966. The original Dayton/Miami Valley Chapter was one of three PRSA chapters (Alabama, Dayton and Southern Connecticut) to be approved by the national assembly that year. In July of 1967, East Central District Chair Herbert Flint visited Dayton and reported that the chapter had 18 members, with potential for up to 60 members. We’ve surpassed that membership and continue to grow and flourish.  

Dayton PRSA Board

Current membership:  The Dayton chapter now boasts 70 members.

2019 officers:  President Linda Dininger, President-Elect Mark D. Weinstein, Past-President Erin Prokes and Secretary/Treasurer Stacy Porter.

Who we are:  The chapter is represented by all facets of the industry, including corporate, non-profit, agency and independent practitioners. Dayton has strong membership representation from agencies and healthcare, with some representation from higher education.

Our biggest project this year: “I see two big projects for Dayton PRSA,” said President-Elect Mark Weinstein. “First, it’s our Media Day, which has gone through some transformation the past two years. This event connects PR leaders with area media, as well as addresses topics that help the media and PR leaders be more effective in their collective work. The second big project is celebrating the successes for PR professionals through the PRism awards ceremony.”

Our chapter’s proudest achievement: “For me, it is seeing the hard work of Dayton’s PR leaders being rewarded at the PRism awards ceremony,” said Mark. “As a result of the accomplishments, I also see PR leaders making a sizable difference in the Dayton landscape.”

Our chapter’s goal for 2019 and its progress: “We have set several goals for the year, but I’ll highlight one,” said President Linda Dininger. “Over the last several years, we have built our sponsorship program into one that offers increased value to local companies. For 2019, we set an unprecedented goal of reaching $5,000 in sponsorships. We streamlined the sponsorship packages and formalized a plan to reach out to the local community to get involved. To date, we have reached 80 percent of plan and still have another six months to attain the other 20 percent.”

A fun fact about our chapter: Each year, the Dayton Chapter PRSA presents the “Smitty Award” to an individual from the area who has demonstrated communications excellence. In old English, “smitty” means blacksmith, so is this Dayton’s version of the Silver Anvil awards? “Iron Anvil” perhaps? Nope! It’s named for the late Rex Smith, a highly regarded public relations practitioner in Dayton for more than 40 years and a former chapter member.

Our secret to a happy chapter: “Creating quality monthly programming and effective communication among the leadership team and members,” said Mark.  “It is so rewarding and enjoyable to celebrate each other’s work, to come alongside during difficult times that allow us to develop professionally.”

Past President Susan Kaiser was quick to agree with Mark. “One item that I can add based on my personal experience falls under “What Makes a Happy Chapter” and supports what Mark has stated as well,” said Susan. “For me, it’s that our chapter consists of a close-knit community that is very supportive of each other as colleagues and mentors. They all have something to bring to the table and advice to help others grow on their PR leadership journey.”

Susan was also impressed by the June 26 ECD Best Practices presentation on chapter diversity by TaQuinda Johnson from the Detroit chapter. She had this to add from her experience as a board member of Professional Women in Healthcare: “For us, healthcare manufacturing and distribution was always very male-dominated, hence the reason PWM was started 15 years ago. There are now many women in leadership roles, but very little women of color, so we continue to explore how to provide education in this area for the industry. We had a man and woman speak at our leadership summit this month about gender partnership. It was the hit of the summit.”  

 Any questions for the Dayton Chapter? Contact President Linda Dininger at linda.dininger.2@gmail.

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Giving Back – Creating a Flourishing Community

By Vanessa Lansdale, Alumni GVSU PRSSA

Anniversaries come and go every year, but instead of getting gifts for an anniversary, how about giving back? That’s what the Grand Valley State University PRSSA chapter did for its 10-year anniversary celebration.

The Grand Valley Chapter of PRSSA, GVSUPRSSA, along with its nationally affiliated, student-run public relations firm, GrandPR, celebrated their 10-year anniversary with an alumni networking spectacular hosted by partner firm 8ThirtyFour Integrated Communications. Between the months of January and March, students from both organizations partnered with 10 different nonprofits in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area as a way to say “thank you” to those who have contributed to the organizations’ success.

Tasks included collecting and re-packaging feminine hygiene products for Be A Rose, donating supplies for GR HQ, assembling sack suppers for Kids’ Food Basket, and more. “The community here gives us so much; we have amazing partnerships with agencies and firms, mentors, our West Michigan Public Relations Society Chapter, and many nonprofits and businesses in the area. When thinking what we could do to celebrate the first decade of GrandPR, we couldn’t think of a better way than to give back,” said GrandPR’s CEO, Sabrina Antcliff.

Being involved first-hand with GrandPR and GVSU PRSSA’s 10-year anniversary celebration, I had many takeaways from this experience. Here are a few:

Community partnerships are to be treasured.

Oftentimes, we take the people around us for granted. Sending a simple thank-you card, inviting a student to your event, or even grabbing coffee with a colleague who you haven’t talked to in a while all strengthens your network. Building networks and partnerships are key in making the community around you grow.

Celebrations don’t need to have gifts.

The gift of time may be the most valuable thing you can give. While volunteering at the different nonprofits with GVSU PRSSA and GrandPR, I could see how my time was directly impacting other individuals. Instead of giving a gift, consider giving your time or an experience to someone. That time may be more valuable to them than you know.

I challenge you to ask yourself, how can I make a difference in my community? How can I use my talents to benefit others? Whether it’s mentoring an individual or volunteering at an organization, together, we can create a flourishing community.

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